About Kotila Mura
Kotila Mura, situated in Cumilla, is an important Buddhist site in Bangladesh and one of fifty such sites amongst the Mainimati ruins. Made up of three stupas, Kotila Mura is believed to have been in use from the 7th to the 13th centuries.
Kotila Mura history
Situated in the Comilla region, Kotila Mura was likely built in the 7th century, the last of the stupas added in the 13th century AD in the traditional style of Buddhist stupa. The three stupas were built on top of the highest mound in the Lalmai Ridge, north to south in a row, each representing one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism: Dharma (morality), Sangha (discipline) and Buddha (knowledge). Stupas functioned to house relics or precious Buddhist items, such as the remains of monks or nuns, and were resultantly sites of meditation.
Comilla was under ancient Samatata, a geopolitical division that joined with the Tripura northern Indian state. During the 12th and 13th centuries, at which point the youngest of the Kotila Mura stupas was being constructed, the Deva Hindu Dynasty rules over eastern Bengal. The Deva Dynasty differed from its 8th and 9th century Buddhist predecessors who had begun building the stupas, yet under their rule there was a period of peace and creative excellence, sometimes labelled the ‘Golden Age’.
Excavations at the site began in the 1950s, uncovering items now held in the museum that were used to date the structures.
Kotila Mura today
Kotila Mura remains a cultural and architectural place of significance in Banglasdesh, and can be visited within an hour. The only way to the shrine is through the east, a gateway which leads to a huge hall. The nearby museum, adjacent to the Salban Vihara site, has a display of artefacts unearthed there, including terracotta plaques, bronze statues, 4th century silver and golden coins, jewellery, and stupas embossed with Buddhist inscriptions.
The museum also displays a large bronze bell from one of the Buddhist temples, and a thousand-year-old black stone carving of Hindu deities, bringing together the combined spiritual histories of Kotila Mura.
Getting to Kotila Mura
Kotila Mara is a reasonably remote location, but from Dhaka along the N1 then Z1206, is a 3 hour drive. The closest bus stop is Bishnupur Bazar, a 300m walk from Kotila Mura.